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Our Story

Our Story

 

MWMF was born in 2009 when AmeriCorps volunteer Sam Brown was stationed in the historic city of Winona, beautifully nestled between the bluffs and the Mississippi River. Boasting three colleges and a robust art scene, Sam quickly fell in love with his new community. His idea was a first-of-its-kind event in the area and loosely modeled on Austin’s South by Southwest.  

Since it’s inception Mid West Music Fest (MWMF) has been a multi-stage, multi-genre music event that showcases some of the upper Midwest’s best acts playing original music. MWMF was from the beginning an all-ages, multiple-genre, volunteer-driven festival. Over the years, up-and-coming acts from all over the country have joined the annual event and contributed to a rich vein of networking and community among musicians, music industry folks, and a constantly evolving audience.

In 2014, MWMF incorporated as a nonprofit, increased educational opportunities, and offered more music at more venues throughout the year. In 2016, a multi-stage, multi-genre companion weekend of the festival in the area river town of La Crosse, WI was established.

Now entering its 11th year, Mid West Music Fest covers two weekends on either end of Summer and includes more than 100 acts on well over a dozen stages between the two historic cities. MWMF Presents concerts occur in both towns and throughout the Midwest during the year.

As part of recent planning toward MWMF second decade, new initiatives are being developed to support original songwriting and mental health for musicians. Teen Press, a journalism project developed with two area schools has resulted in dozens of stories crafted by teenage writers. In 2020, we are working with our partners to grow this program in La Crosse.  

 We hope you will join our efforts to continue our vision of being the place where music and community meet.

The mission of the MWMF is to promote music and art in the region, creating opportunities for artists, stimulating downtown economic development, and providing diverse educational resources for artists, community members, and children.

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